Weekly column

Volume 5

Volume 10, Number
July 15, 2007

The Farmer


Founder’s Day at Muhammad Farms

by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad

Over 200 guests visited Muhammad Farms on Saturday, July 7th to help us celebrate the
77th anniversary of Master Fard Muhammad making Himself and His Mission known on July 4,
1930 in Detroit, Mich. The activities really started on Friday evening with a fish fry at the
Ministry of Agriculture House in Bronwood, Ga. which served as a networking experience from
Believers from across the country. The highlight of the dinner was that good old fish sandwich that
the Nation of Islam is known for. The fish was dipped, of course, in a batter consisting of Muhammad
Farms Whole Wheat Flour recently milled from 40 acres of wheat harvested in June of this year.

On Saturday our goal was to give our 200 visitors a taste of farming and rural life as compared
to the cities where they came from. We had buses to come form Newark, N.J., New York City and
Atlanta. Cars and vans came from as far away as Minnesota, Arkansas, Washington, DC and Texas. In
the morning we divided the visitors up into five different work groups. One group picked and washed
squash. Another group picked watermelons that were loaded out of the field by another group. A group
picked sweet corn, while a separate group processed the corn by cutting off the tips. We have to cut
the tips out of our corn because we do not use any chemicals to kill the corn ear worm that usually
eats a few kernels of the corn at the very tip. We pointed out to them that when we grow sweet corn
without pesticides, we can not turn around and sell this corn to the open market, because they
demand that we use chemicals to kill all corn ear worms that might eat a little bit of the corn at
its tip.

One of participants in the corn harvest Sister Khashimah Muhammad of Little Rock, AR stated,
“Its one thing to hear about ‘our farm’ half way across the country, but to go and see the
fields of corn, wheat, watermelons, eggplant and other vegetables and see some of the work involved
in maintaining it was an inspiring and awesome experience. The cutting and the bagging of the corn
that I helped to do was only a small taste of the daily work that goes on at Muhammad Farms.”

After fighting the gnats, mosquitoes and heat our visitors cut into some freshly picked
watermelons as they waited on their “hay ride” tour of Muhammad Farms. The hay ride wagon
was loaned to us by a long time friend and supporter of the Nation from Leesburg, Ga, Reverend
Roosevelt Carter. Even with our 40 passenger wagon, it took us 5 trips to give everyone the tour of
our and your 1600 acre farm. The visitors saw fields of squash, navy beans, peanuts, watermelons,
sweet corn, field corn, soybeans, eggplants and cantaloupes. Since the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s
book called “How to Eat to Live” taught us not to eat peanuts and soybeans, some of our
visitors wanted us to explain why we grew them.

There are both agronomic and economic reasons for us in Southwest Georgia to grow peanuts and
soybeans especially since we do not want to use artificial fertilizers and herbicides. The economic
reason for growing peanuts and soybeans is that there is a local infrastructure set up to pick,
purchase and transport these commodities. With the donations from the Three Year Economic Savings
Program we purchased a used grain combine and peanut picker. These machines enable us to harvest as
much as 20 to 40 acres per day of navy bean, soybeans, wheat, field corn and peanuts. On the other
hand in a two hour period it took 20 people to pick 2 acres of sweet corn. If I paid these visitors
$7 per hour, the cost would be $140 per acre. On the other hand the estimated cost of running a
grain combine to pick field corn or wheat is $30 per acre and a lot less headaches. Therefore we can
pick 200 acres of field corn or peanuts in 10 days using only one tractor driver. Whereas, if we
were to use 20 hand pickers in an 8 hour day, it would take us 200/8 or 25 days under perfect
weather conditions.

After we pick the field corn, peanuts and soybeans, we can put them on trailers and drive 8 miles
where we can sell them, get paid that day, and be back at the farm within and hour. On the other
hand if we grew 200 acres of sweet corn, I would have to drive all over the country to get them sold
and have to worry about refrigeration on top of that because there is no local market for that much
chemical free sweet corn.

George Washington Carver saved the agriculture of the South by introducing the peanut to replace
the nutrients taken from the soil by cotton and corn. Peanuts, soybeans and navy beans put nitrogen
back into the soil that is available for the next crop planted in rotation behind the peanuts. In
addition, since peanuts are a root crop, their very growth and harvesting help to break up the hard
red clay at Muhammad Farms, conditioning the soil for the next crop to be grown. In addition,
peanuts spread out and choke the weeds reducing the weed population in a field where you can then
grow another crop and not have to spray chemical herbicides to protect your crop.

The tour was followed up with fun and games for the children at the Ministry of Agriculture House
along with a dinner prepared by Sister Anne from produce from Muhammad Farms including eggplants,
squash and sweet corn capped off by a slice of Muhammad Farms watermelon. Sis. Constance Muhammad
commented, “I am especially appreciative that our children were allowed to participate with us
in going out into the field and assisting with our gathering efforts. It was the highlight of their
day! The food was wonderful as always and the lecture was thought provoking.”

After dinner, as advertised, we gave a PowerPoint presentation on the significance of July 4,
1930 and why Master Farm Muhammad may have chosen this date for the announcement of Himself and His
Mission. The presentation is called “Two in the Womb” and is dedicated to show why July 4,
1930 was so significant from an astronomical point of view and why Master Fard Muhammad may have
chosen this date to make Himself and His Mission known. The lecture turned into a mini-course on the
fallacies of western economic theory and introduced a new paradigm based on the Messenger’s
Economic Blueprint.

On Sunday we took our annual “Footsteps of the Messenger Tour” through Cordele, Macon,
DeepStep, and Sandersville, Ga. After the tour Sister Khashimah Muhammad stated, “I really
appreciated and enjoyed the tour of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad footsteps. Being in some of the
same places, hearing some of the stories of his life and just seeing the environment that helped to
shape one of the greatest men in our history, meant a lot to me. The entire weekend was a learning
experience. My family and I are in our second year having a garden, and seeing the daily attention
it needs and the experience at Muhammad Farms lets me know that we all must be involved in the
agricultural ministry in some way to reach and feed all of our people.”

Mosque #7, New York City visitors on Farm Tour

Visitors from Minnesota, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Arkansas


Volume 4

Volume 4, Number
February 23, 2001

The Farmer


Supply/Demand and Predatory Power

by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad

I recently asked Georgia Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor if rural development and increasing
benefits to large farmers be at cross currents to each other? He said, "Yes". It would be
good if there could be a win win situation. However, through the influence of some of these large
farmers over the county commissions of our rural counties their decisions are pulling the whole
county down as profitability for the large farms are going down.

As the agricultural profit margins tighten ( Graph 1),
the big farmers became the predators. With the help of the USDA, the large white farmers first ate
up the land and equity of the Black farmers. Now they keep the whole county as a hostage to keep
their costs down. Large farmers want lower taxes, lower land prices, lower wages because they can
not get higher prices for their commodities. However, to keep their costs low they block new higher
paying industries from locating in their counties.

I asked State Senator Hooks and State Representative Hanaah if county commissioners blocked
programs and moneys from the state that were available to the counties. They both answered,
"yes". There is a large supply of labor and an outside demand for that labor, but the
power structure won’t let industries in.

While the poor are kept poor and vulnerable, in steps a new breed of predators. We attended a
"Predatory Lending Conference" on February 13th and 14th spearheaded by State Senator
Vincent Forte. It seems that the deregulation of the banking institutions back in the early 80’s
has opened the door for a set of predators to come into the Black community and chew up the wealth
and dignity of many of our elderly home owners.

They deregulated the banking industry and the people get "taken to the bank". The
predatory loans are usually made based on the remaining equity in the an older person’s home and are
characterized by high interest rates, balloon payments, hidden fees, unnecessary insurance,
over-collateralization and no regard for ability to pay. When will we learn that America is a
wilderness filled with predators? The "Predatory Lending Bill", SB 70, is a first step of
dulling the teeth of these lending predators.

There is a large demand for credit in the Black community, but those with power keep the cheap
interest loans to themselves and force Black people to deal with the loan sharks. There is a
plentiful supply of capital, but it is artificially kept out of the hands of Black people.

Deregulation and privatization is the rallying cry for politicians owned by big money. California
deregulated electrical power generation and now the people will have to pay through the nose for

"The simple fact is that a handful of people who were really smart
figured out how to make a ton of money selling the same product in essentially the same market
conditions as before at 10 times the price." states Michael Kahn, chairman of the California
Energy Oversight Board.

There was a predictable increased demand for electricity, but the supply was kept artificially
low due to the politics of deregulation.

In my economic classes they talked about the "hidden hand" that drives supply and
demand. That "hidden hand" is the politics of powerful "predators", bankers and
lawyers. The bankers and lawyers have set up a system which forces the smaller predators, like big
farmer county commissioner types, to chew on the weakest of us, while they themselves are being
chewed. Too bad that they can not turn their heads from their slop trough and take a "bite out
of crime".

Peace, Doc

Still men

Volume 4

Volume 4, Number
February 18, 2001

The Farmer


"3/5ths, But Still Men"

by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad

A two day workshop was held by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in Albany, GA on Friday
and Saturday of last week, February 9th and 10th. On Friday the monitor, for the Pigford Vs Glickman
class action lawsuit, Randi Roth, was in attendance to update farmers on the status of the lawsuit
and interview individual farmers who had not received payment or had been denied.

According to the USDA’s website of the 21,202 applications that were accepted for processing
60.4% were ruled in favor of the claimant and 39.6% were denied. In other words 3/5ths were approved
and 2/5ths denied which is the same ratio that the Constitution used to count Black people to
determine the number of representatives a state would have in the House of Representatives. The
number of House seats plus the number of Senate seats then determine how many Electors each state
would have in the Electoral College which chooses the president.

Interestingly an article done in the June 7, 1999 Newsweek magazine on the Status of Black
America revealed that the median income for a family of four for Blacks was $35,000 per year but for
Whites was $58,000 per year, or 3/5ths. This ratio of 3/5ths continues like the bass drum in a
march. The underlying tone is set.

We had a chance to interview 29 farmers at the event in Albany and discovered that only 3 had
been approved, 3 did not know their status but 23 were denied. We categorized these 23 denials into
13 possible categories but found that 15 of these denials was either because there was "no
substantial evidence of discrimination", 8 or the farmer had picked the wrong "similarly
situated white farmer", 7. So I asked the monitor for the settlement, Randi Roth, could she
help these 15 farmers.

"Sometimes the monitor will reverse and sometimes we won’t". Now in case of the
similarly situated white farmer she said. "What the word similar means to the adjudicator is
not necessarily what it means to the monitor…" Many people lost on the similarly situated
white farmer however, "It is in the consent decree and it is not something that can change now.
But the judge wrote in his opinion that he thought that class counsel would have the information
about white farmers for people but it turned out that class counsel did not have it." In other
words, Al Pires left a loophole in the consent decree that he was supposed to fill in, but he did
not, leaving the individual black farmers with the burden of finding out which white farmers got
loans from FmHA without having access to those white farmers’ records in the USDA office.

When the leadership of BFAA read that consent decree two days after it was submitted on November
3, 1998, they begged the judge in March of 1999 not to accept that line about the "similarly
situated white farmer". However, the farmers own lead attorney, Al Pires, did not demand that
the wording be changed and the judge signed the decree as written in April of 1999 and now the worst
fears of the Black farmers has come to pass, 40% have been denied.

The "devil is in the details" and the Black farmers got the shaft. However, although
treated like slaves and 3/5ths of a citizen they are continuing to fight to be productive citizens
in the land that they and their forefathers enhanced.

According to Gary Grant, President of BFAA, "Al Pires and the USDA and the other
"beltline bandits" around Washington have not finished hearing from us yet. That is a


Click here to learn more about the lawsuit–>Perfect

Pioneer survives

Volume 4

Volume 4, Number
February 5, 2001

The Farmer


100 year old Pioneer survives tragic hospital stay

by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad


Here at Muhammad Farms in Bronwood, Ga we have a treasure in one of our great pioneers and
farmers, Bro. William Muhammad. He just got out of the hospital so we thought that the readers would
like to meet him.

Bro. William was born in Mississippi on March 14, 1901. This coming March he will be 100 years
old. He acts as “father” to over 90 children and is the natural father of 50. His youngest
is 20 years old. He attributes his long and productive life to hard work, the farm, and the
teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

He was one of the first two pioneers sent down here to Georgia to run the Nation’s farm in
1966. They had to clear thousands of acres of woods for crop land. However, the Honorable Elijah
Muhammad made sure that they had all the money and equipment that they needed to make the farm


Back in the 1960’s and 70’s there were many small black owned stores in Albany that bought
produce directly from the Nation’s farm, but since that time these small stores went out of
business. The larger stores no longer bought vegetables locally and the vegetable production in this
area basically stopped. The larger chains buy from corporate farms and keep the produce in large
warehouses in another state, then ship the produce back into smaller towns like Albany.

Here is part of Bro. Williams testimony:

William: “There wasn’t nobody down here growing vegetables. They called this a dead area.
We did more with this land, this old battlefield land, with vegetables than anybody in Georgia. It
wouldn’t produce nothing here but corn and wheat, barley. When we got started back with the
vegetables the people knew that we were producing vegetables with none of those chemicals in it.

What happened is that a farmer grew some kale and collard greens and turnip greens and he put
that DDT on there. A lot of people got sick and died off of that. But we wouldn’t allow none of
that on our farm. We wouldn’t let them fly over and spray that stuff either.”

Q.: So that was back in the 60’s right?

William: “Right. Back then and right today they come by asking for vegetables cause they
know we don’t use chemicals. We use organic. Many people don’t know what organic means. It don’t
just mean one thing. You can take leaves as a good organic that you can put in the field, along with
cow manure or horse manure, you have good deal.”

He has lived to see the Nation lose that farm and get a part of it back in 1994. During the time
that the Nation had loss the farm, Bro. William chose to stay in Georgia and attempt to farm on his
own. He like other black farmers had little success at getting loans from the local Farmers Home
Administration due to discrimination. He has also filed a claim in the class action lawsuit against
the USDA. However, he like many other black farmers have not received any compensation, but are
still fighting against an unending stream of red tape between them and justice.

In the interview he went into the history of how he was chosen to come to the farm in Georgia and
what they went through to set things up. He also talked about what happened when the Nation fell and
what has happened since Minister Farrakhan, using the Three Year Economic Program, got part of the
old farm back.

He also went into detail about how Nation did not have enough money left over for equipment when
it got the farm land back in 1994. In the first few months Bro. William and I had to borrow
equipment from other farmers and get local black farmers to help them put in the first crop in 1995.

Later in the interview we asked him about his most recent hospital stay which produces more
evidence that we need facilities to take care of our pioneers and elders ourselves in our own health
and convolesence facilities. He went to his doctor to check on the congestion in his lungs and
discovered that he had contracted pneumonia in both of his lungs.

When he went into a local hospital in Albany Georgia, one of the doctors put the I.V. needle in
his flesh instead of his vein. This caused his arm to blow up like an inner tube, while he was
asleep. When he awoke his arm was bleeding and severely swollen. He could not lift it up and rang
for the nurse. The nurse took another 20 minutes to get there.

He had to stay over for an extended period in the hospital for them to get that swelling down.
Fortunately, it did go down and he is home now. We started to do an article on him when he was in
the hospital, but thought better of it, since he was actually in the hands of strangers. We thank
Allah for bringing him safely through his ordeal. It would have been a tragedy indeed, if after his
long years of struggle, we would have lost him because of a careless doctor.

His story is fascinating. We will be doing more interviews with him and other pioneers who were
on Muhammad Farms in the early days. It would be well worthwhile to visit Bro. William and Muhammad
Farms to see a living legend or invite him to your local areas to share with the youth what it takes
to be a pioneer for freedom. For more of his story read “Interview with a 100 year old
Pioneer” at: http://muhammadfarms.com/The%20Farmer%20Newsletter.htm


Perfect Crime

New Page 1

(A 26 page version of this shortened document was prepared to be presented to the House
Agricultural Subcommittee. However, although I was invited to give the report when I got there, they
did not allow me to speak. This is a shortened version of that document which the Committee said
would be put in the record. I have not found it on the government website however.)


Present  March
29th, Letter to Bush
of Lawsuit

Bookmarks:     Introduction     
The Lawsuit     Impact of
the "Farm Block"

Volume 2, Number 8 (shortened version)    October 10, 1999

The Farmer


The USDA: Trying to Perpetrate the Perfect Crime

by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad


I hope that each one of you gets a chance to read the Consent Decree of the Black
farmers lawsuit against the USDA as written by Judge Friedmen. In that monumental document Judge
Friedman states in no ambiguous manner that the Black farmers should not expect to get justice
through the courts. He states that the only reason that they have gotten this far is because of
their independent, organized and persistent struggle and that the only way that they may receive
anything more is to continue in that same mode. He suggested to us that our problem was political
and this is why we have shown up here today. He in fact gave us what we call a "Declaration for
Independent Action".

We voiced our opposition to the Consent Decree as written on March 2, 1999 even
though many advised us not to, fearing that we might rock the boat. Now since that time the process
of implementation of that settlement has born out our greatest fears. Black farmers have not
received any money and many fear that they will not receive anything, although the government
through the media has given the false impression that the farmers’ checks are waiting at the bank.
Although the Black farmers have not gotten a dime from this settlement, bill collectors, banks and
other creditors have been harassing these people like vultures chewing on dead flesh.

Here are some of the facts:


1. 40% of the applications have been rejected for such reasons as the
"similarly situated white farmer" that the Black farmers chose did not get a loan from
FmHA in the same year that the Black farmer applied.


2. Farmers in some areas have been denied access to their own FmHA records, yet
their applications have been denied based on information from those same records.


3. Out of over 40,000 requests for applications there may be no more than 100 Track
B cases.


4. The estimation of a farmer’s economic damages in Track B is being based on his
historical yields, while these same yields were made low because of prior discrimination in the
administering of USDA programs.


5. Black farmers are being asked to prove that they were discriminated against while
most did not, and do not, know what they were entitled to, because the delivery system for program
information was and is faulty.


6. The Consent Decree was signed on "Black Tuesday", November 3, 1998, the
same day that unexpected numbers of Black people showed up to vote.


7. There is a growing suspicion by Black farmers and their city cousins that the
USDA does not intend to do right by the Black farmers as evidenced by how the government is handling
this lawsuit.


The government may have inadvertently triggered a movement that will expose some
agendas that are not favorable for the population growth of Black people. Now let us compare the growth rate of Black people in America between 1910 and 1990 compared to acres
of farmland owned.  In 1910 the Black population was 9.8 million while we owned almost 13
million acres of farmland.  However, by 1990 the Black population had increased to over 30
million while the farmland owned dropped to below 4 million acres. Therefore, we see that the Black population is expanding rapidly while their farmland has
almost reached zero. 

How can a people sustain itself without land? If there was no racism in America
and if Black people were not labeled as "menaces to society", then such trends would not
be alarming.

What are they to eat? Genetically modified foods that have not been tested to insure
that no additional allergens have been spliced in that may prove deadly to specific genetic types? Why
is the USDA using our tax money to develop "terminator gene" technologies among others,
that would not increase food security and nutrition but make a few biotech corporations filthy rich?

Research has already proved that
genetically altered foods through gene splicing may carry allergens which may be harmful to selected
DNA types. An article from the October 5, 1999 Wall Street Journal states that
Monsanto is foregoing its plans to release "terminator genes" into the environment while
the USDA, using our tax money, is still researching and pushing such technologies even against
public opinion.

Can Black people trust America? What is America’s long term agenda for Black people?
What does America hold dear?

The Lawsuit:

The $50,000 is an insult and the process of trying to get that money has been
frustrating and insulting to many black farmers. They have been tracked into Track "A"
with hardly any Track "B" claims, and many have been even excluded from Track
"A" through bad advice given by those trying to help them fill out their forms. Six
thousand were expected to participate in this lawsuit but over 30,000 asked for applications, over
18,000 are expected to have filed by October 12, 1999 and here lies the root of the problem: the
government does not intend to give out that much money to Black people unless their is a political
gun to its head. The figure that was given to the press for the total settlement was around $3
billion. However, even if only 6,000 were given the $50,000 this would amount to only $300 million,
one-tenth of $3 billion. So the government never expected to give out $3 billion in the first place,
and through the process of elimination, it intends to cut that 18,000 down to a
"manageable" figure.

The average Black farmer in Georgia in 1978 owned 150 acres of land. At today’s
prices ($1,673 per acre) that represents $250,950 in terms of land, buildings and equipment. 
was just that, land, buildings and equipment, that was confiscated from them with the help of the
USDA. So on a national basis, $7 billion would be closer to what was taken from these 30,000 or more
farmers. Actually in 1978 there were over 30,000 Black farmers in the U.S. who owned land.
We don’t know how many there are now because the Census of Agriculture conveniently stopped defining
farmers according to race in the early ’80’s.

The apologists for this settlement argue that more than $50,000 can be obtained by
going Track "B". However, the hurdles are set a lot higher for farmers to jump over to
obtain such a settlement. And by the way, there is a clause in this settlement that prevents these
farmers from appealing the verdict of the arbitrator or ever asking for relief again from the
government, even if they may later find that they were damaged more or found more evidence to
substantiate their claims. This is significant because the farmer must elect to go Track
"B" which requires proof of discrimination like it would be required in a court case but
does not have the right of "discovery" as in a course case. This "discovery"
issue is important because each Black farmer is required to present a white farmer who was
"similarly situated" who got loan services that he was denied. How is one to get that
information, if he can not see the records of the white farmers filed with the Farmers’ Home
Administration (FmHA)? It was because of this very issue that I was brought in to help farmers who
wanted to go "B" see if they could "prove" damages sufficient to warrant the
risk in going "B" instead of "A". Because once you go "B" and lose,
you can not go back to "A" and apply for $50,000.

Economic Impact of Discrimination

The rest of this analysis was discovered in the process of researching a way to
prove discrimination and damages without access to the records held by the USDA. First, can a trend
of discrimination be determined and identified? To do this we chose the top 40 counties in Georgia
with respect to acres of land in farms. Then we got the percent of Black population for these
counties as recorded in the Georgia Statistical Abstract for 1982. We found that as the percent of
Black people in a county increases so does the average size of farms in that county. In fact
according to the r-square statistic, over 62% of the variance in the size of farms is explained by
percent black population. This is counter to what one would expect since Black farmers are
traditionally small farmers when compared to their white counterparts. We checked this analysis by
looking at the size of black farms as a function of percent black population and we found that there
is almost no correlation .

So what are some reasonable explanations for this observed trend? We found that as
long as the percent of black population is low, between 12% and 33%, there is no upward trend in
size of farms. However, as soon as the one-third level is reached, then farms start to get
progressively larger from an average of about 300 acres, moving up to over 700 acres as they
approach 60.8%. The last figure of 60.8% represents the percent black population of the county of
Terrell. This is the same county that S.N.C.C. targeted in the 60’s as one of the worst counties in
terms of poverty, disenfranchisement and out right racism.

To get a better picture of what was going on, I asked black farmers in Terrell
County, Ga to give me a list of 10 black farmers and 10 white farmers that were farming and dealt with
FmHA in the early ’80’s. I suggest that a research project be funded to carry out this same type of
analysis in all counties of the South with black populations above 33%. With this list I went to the
county courthouse where the UCC-1 files and deeds are kept. From the UCC-1 files I developed a list
of FmHA transactions of these farmers and from the deed records was able to obtain information on
the amount of loans, collateral attached, interest rates and terms.

In 1978 according to the Census of Agriculture there were
31 Black farms in Terrell county averaging 148 acres each. However of the 10 Black farmers that were
still alive in 1998 only 6 (six) still owned land and none were actively farming. The average size of land
holdings was now 13.84, an average loss of 134.16 acres. This represented an average loss of
$224,450 in terms of land, buildings and equipment at today’s prices ($1,673 per acre). In other
words the Black farmers in Terrell county lost about everything from 1978 to 1998. What happened?

We compared these 10 Black farmers who at least got one FmHA loan to 10 white
farmers who got loans from FmHA. First of all when I asked Black farmers to identify white farmers
that got FmHA loans they were right about one half the time. I had to start out with a list of over
20 white farmers to find 10 that had loans from FmHA. Many times the white farmers would get
guaranteed loans or loans from banks, production credit associations and land banks. The Black
farmers told me that sometimes when they would go to the FmHA office and there were white farmers in
the office before them, they would let the white farmers out the back door making it impossible for
the Black farmers to find out what was being offered to white farmers.

In 1998 according to the tax records the 10 Black farmers owned a total of 138.41
acres of land with a tax value (40% of market value) of $349,969, while the 10 white farmers owned
2725.83 acres valued at $2,503,939. The Black farms averaged 13.8 acres, while the white farmers
averaged 272 acres.  Now if we
compare the number of loans received by each farmer according to the UCC-1 records at the
courthouse, we see that Black farmers received an average of 4.3 loans from 1978 to 1994, while
white farmers received twice that amount, 8.2. But what is more shocking is that none of these Black
farmers got any of the 3% loans that were supposedly set aside for them in 1978 and 1979. Instead, 5
white farmers received a total of $943,480 of 3% loans in 1978 and 1979. In fact one white farmer
alone received $532,850.

We compared relationship between the present acres of land owned by our 20 farmers
and the amount of 3% loans received by them. As the amount of 3% loans in 1978 and 1979 increased so
did the amount of acres owned in 1998. In fact 42.5% of the variance in acres owned can be explained
by the amount of 3% loans received.

To get deeper at possible causal effects we ran a number of regressions using
"acres" as the dependent variable and using "race", "3%loans" and
"UCC" as independent or predictor variables. The best overall model, according to a high
r-square, high F-ratio and low probability of no relationship, was model 3. This model states that
the number of acres owned is a function of the race of the farmer and his access to 3% loan money.
63.8% of the variance in acreage can be attributed to these two variables. What this means is that
if the Black farmers received the average of $94,348 in loans at 3% in 1978 or 1979 they would now
own an additional 61.5 acres each, valued at $102,914. If the $40,000,000 that was supposed to go to
Black farmers wound up in the hands of white farmers as it did in Terrell county, then this program
was responsible for the loss of 26,080 acres of land from 1979 to 1998.

Remember now, we are only looking at relatively small white farmers and not the
larger white farmers who benefited in years passed from the government financed production credit
associations, land banks and banks for co-operatives. The $40,000,000 of 3% money was supposed to
help redress the ills already incurred against Black farmers, but instead was used by the next rung
of white farmers to move up a notch. The more Black farmers there were in a county meant the more 3%
loan money that would be allocated to that county, which meant that in those counties white farmers
got lucky.

These were 7 year loans which matured in 1984 and 1985, which meant that they
carried over and through the major farm debt crisis in the early 1980’s. These white farmers were
thereby insulated from the rest of the farmers because they were given cheap money that was supposed
to go to Black farmers. The interest expense on a $100,000 loan held for 7 years at 3% is $12,354,
while at 8 percent (average Black farmer rate) the accumulated interest amounts to $34,450, thereby
providing a net savings of $22,096 which could be used for other operating expenses or capital
improvements, which could have made the difference in the survival of that farm operation.

Of course this particular law suit does not go back to 1978 and 1979. It starts in
1981 when the 3% money has already been given out to the white farmers, which is unfortunate. By the
time the Black farmers get into the FmHA office the interest rates have climbed to 8 and 10%. This
is why the number of UCC-1 files does not show a strong relationship with the number of acres once
you control for the 3% loan money. We have to look at the amount of money, length of loan, interest
rate, timing of the loan and whether the loan was a "supervised loan" or not to be able to
see why Black farmers faired worse than white farmers during the 1980’s and 90’s. We must also look
at the average returns to assets during this period to understand what was happening. For instance,
if the returns to growing soybeans was 4%, which it was from 1987 to 1997 in Georgia, and the cost
of capital was 8%, then the farmer lost 4 cents for every $1 that he borrowed. In other words the
farmers were living off of their equity during this period which forced many farmers out.

So now the farmers in the law suit are asked to prove that they would have made a
profit if FmHA did not discriminate against them from 1981 to 1996. The government responds by
saying for instance, "…soybeans did not make a profit during this period so we did you no
financial harm by not loaning you money." It will be interesting to see what finally comes out
of the lawsuit. Remember Judge Friedman warned the Black farmers that the courts would not be the
arena to get justice. The USDA did not admit guilt in the lawsuit nor did it promise to not
discriminate in the future. Therefore the USDA can only be reformed in the political arena.

When the government uses the cost and returns data to argue that the Black farmers
would not have made a profit, this begs the question of how then did the white farmer survive in
this environment. Were there programs and moneys set aside to keep these white farmers afloat that
were not made available to Black farmers?

There are two lessons to be learned from this. The delivery system did not work then
and with the same mentality in these counties today, any new program earmarked for Black farmers
will not reach the majority of them now. The white farmers will take the benefits, gaining not only
a comparative advantage over the Black farmers in their area, but also gaining an advantage over
other white farmers who do not have Black farmers to suck off of.

In light of what we discovered next, the injustice done to these Black farmers is
more bloody. One white farmer, the same one that got $532,850 got a number of other loans and loan
services. In fact this farmer got a continuance on his loans that were past due by two years in 1985
and in default, and got a new loan for an additional $200,000+. Although this farmer was worth over
$400,000 in land and buildings in 1998, according to the courthouse records he never paid these
loans back while continuing to farm and borrow money from the local banks.

Dividing the "Farm Block"

Could this farmer have benefited from the softwood pine tree growing program which
deferred his USDA debts for up to 45 years that was authorized by the 1985 Farm Bill written by the
very agricultural committee that Sec. Dan Glickman set on? This is a provision which until 1997
black farmers knew nothing about. Who will read the fine print for these black farmers in future
legislations? Could this give-away program to white farmers explain why they got larger while Black
farmers disappeared? Did this government give billions of dollars away to help white farmers in the
south take the land of Black people, while it gave food stamps to the people in the ghettos to keep
their bellies full and unaware?

Since softwood pine can only be grown successfully in the South, was this a giveaway
program to southern farmers to divide them from their Midwestern brothers, who were also suffering
during the farm debt crisis of the early ’80’s? Can the difference in farm programs and availability
of unprotected equity (black farm land) explain the differences in the growth of the value of farms
between southern and Midwestern farmers as depicted in Graph 1?

Could the reason why Mr. Dan Glickman was brought in to be Secretary of Agriculture
be that he knew how to put the lid back on the worms that former Secretary Espy opened up? Was this
settlement without "discovery", as brokered by Mr. Glickman, a tactic to keep this sordid
piece of political history hidden from the public? Mr. Glickman, you were on the agricultural
committee and was on the floor of the House when Representative Towns of New York read the report of
the Civil Rights Commission begging you for your support to prop up the Civil Rights Division of the
USDA in 1983? You did and said nothing then, so why should we trust you now? What can you say to the
displaced children of these farmers now fighting to survive in the cities without hope, without
dreams, who have seen their fathers, mothers, aunts and uncles deprived of life, liberty and
property while being humiliated?

Now this out of court settlement was brokered so that these same men you deprived of
dignity will not get the opportunity to tell their stories. This society brands our children as
"menaces to society", while criminals in white collars walk around free with their
parents’ lands in their hands. The same government employees who allowed and participated in this
great theft are still working or getting retirement benefits from the same taxpayers that they stole
the land from, and you ask our youth to be civil. Whose interests are you serving?

Seven billion dollars is a modest figure considering how long this charade has
persisted and the size of the cost of re-entry into the agricultural industry has become. If the
Black farmers are given a just and equitable settlement, what is the environment of agricultural
profitability that they will face? Graph 2 is a chart of the Risk and
Returns for a Variety of Agricultural Enterprises in Georgia. As you can see the only enterprise
that has a reasonable chance of returning a significant return on assets is dry land peanuts. Most
enterprises hover around zero and most Black farmers have already been deprived of their peanut
quotas. In other words the government gave the taxpayers’ money away to white farmers when there
were programs to safeguard farmers’ incomes, and now is talking about giving crumbs to Black farmers
and sending them into a lost cause.

There is no profitability in farming. Although farming represents almost 10% of the
Gross Domestic Product it only earns 0.39% returns on assets. On the other hand the industries that
feed into agriculture, mining and manufacturing, earns a 3.21% return on assets, while the
industries that process, transport and distribute farm products earn 2.82% average return on assets.
When one goes out in the rural areas, as I have, you find that the same white farmers and their
families that benefited from government programs and subsidies are now the owners of the processing
plants, feed and seed stores, agricultural chemical companies, tractor dealerships and banks that
the black farmers have to utilize to operate. Black farmers can not enter the new vertically
integrated agriculture industry segregated from the type of capital and institutions, such as
full-service co-ops necessary for survival in a global market.

Graph 3 demonstrates the steady progression away from
the small farmer/local farmers market model of the 1940’s and 50’s to the corporate
farm/mega-retailer model of today. With the merger of such firms as Monsanto with Delta Pines and
Dupont with Pioneer Seed, soon we will be in model 5, a one-firm-corporately-planned economy. And
Black people in America will find themselves in the same situation that Black people in Africa now
find themselves, landless and dieing.

Vice-President Al Gore champions the cause of saving the environment from degradation
attributed to over population and features countries in Africa as representatives of such a threat.
One would assume by reading his book, "Earth in the Balance, " that Africa was
overpopulated. One would think that Africa had the greatest concentration of people per square mile
than all the other continents. But a little research in the World Book encyclopedia would show you
that Europe and not Africa or even Asia is the most densely populated continent in the world. Then
what explains the starvation in Africa compared to the opulence in Europe with its caves and
hillsides compared with the vast richness of Africa. Could the vestiges of colonialism coupled with
policies of international financiers be responsible for the continual flow of undervalued resources
from Africa to Europe and America? Could there be such a "beast" as "The Bloodsucker
of the Poor"? Is that "Bloodsucker" alive and well and thriving in Washington, D.C.?


Horror Stories from the Countryside:


While helping the Black farmers determine the economic damages done to them by the
USDA, we were told many stories about how the county supervisors got rich by taking Black people’s


1. Many Black farmer have told us that as long as they did not try to get loans to
buy land, they could sometimes get operating loans. But as soon as they applied to purchase land
they were not qualified and not given additional operating capital if they were lucky to buy that
land otherwise.

2. Most Black farmers were never told that they could put 50 acres of marginal land
in pine trees and get their loans deferred. In the meantime white farmers were getting FmHA loans to
buy their farms in foreclosure.

3. A Black farm family in Alabama was forced to sell off their land on their 140
acre farm to pay off their debt and save their home, then told three years latter that they had to
get $20,000 to save that same home. Evidently the money that the county supervisor was supposed to
put against their debt was not handled properly, so at a later time the supervisor offered them a
"write down, buy out" option for $20,000. This family now owes the IRS for taxes on the
write down.

4. In a similar situation in Georgia, a Black farmer found out from an outside
source that FmHA was offering "write downs" on debts, so he was able to get his debt
written down to $160,000. He went to the local bank and secured a loan for that amount which his
lawyer was supposed to deliver to FmHA. After two years of paying $20,000 per year against his new
bank loan he was given a notice of foreclosure from FmHA. He filed bankruptcy and almost died.

5. Another farmer in Georgia went to FmHA and applied for an operating loan in
January of 1981 for $35,000. They approved the loan in March, but he did not get the first
installment of the money until June. However, they only gave him $21,000, which they demanded back
the next month because he did not live up to some type of agreement. The farmer paid the $21,000
back in July. However, at the end of the year and additional $14,000 of crop insurance money went
straight to FmHA and a tax bill from the IRS came in January of 1982. Now where did that $14,000 go,
because the farmer only received $21,000 of the $35,000 that was approved?

6. Black farmers were almost always given "supervised loans" which meant
that they had to go to the FmHA office to make any purchases adding time and delays in their
operations. In addition they seldom knew how much money was still left in their account, nor how
much of the income that they were forced to turn over was actually placed against their debts until
foreclosure notices came.

7. Black farmers were seldom given loans to buy top notch equipment but forced to
buy old equipment from white farmers who had loans from FmHA, or the local banks, allowing these
farmers to dump warn out equipment and get the down payment for new equipment. One farmer in Georgia
was the farm manager for 12 years with a white farmer operating 2,000 acres of row crops. The white
farmer died in 1995 but owed a lot of money to the local bank. The bank loan officer sat down with
the FmHA county supervisor and filled out a loan application for, not with, the Black farmer to
purchase all the equipment of the deceased white farmer at inflated prices while FmHA would
guarantee the note. However, there was a drought the next year, and ASCS refused to pay him disaster
money, so he could not pay on the note. The bank foreclosed and suddenly the value of the equipment
was much less than the amount of the loan, so they came and took additional equipment not financed
by the loan and now are after his house.

8. The yield basis on Black farm land was kept low while the yields on the white
farmers were allowed to grow over time. This meant the county average yields were always above the
Black farmers. Now the amount of deficiency payments or crop insurance payments was based on the
average county yields. Since the Black farmers base was always below the county average, most years
they never got deficiency payments while the white farmers got all the money.

9. FmHA was supposedly set up to provide loan services to farmers who could not get
loans from commercial banks. However, white farmers would go to the local banks and get short term
loans while they were waiting on their government loan check from FmHA. Most Black farmers had to
get higher interest credit from the fertilizer and chemical dealers owned by these same white
farmers, government officials and/or their families.

10. A black peanut farmer had a bad year due to a drought. He was not allowed the
common practice under such conditions to transfer his peanut quota. He was denied disaster payments
and the next year his allotment was taken away because he had not used it in the previous year.

11. A common method of hiding discrimination in a given county was to always have
one are two Black farmers that would get money and a few white farmers who would be denied money.
Usually the token Black farmer was allowed to sit in on committee meetings, but not allowed to vote.

12. When Black farmers were forced into bankruptcy, the courts would pay off the
white creditors while leaving black creditors stranded.


In light of the above information the choice of a "Monitor" for the class
action suit is crucial to insure a modicum of justice in this faulty process. The monitor must know
farming and USDA programs and stipulations to insure that Black farmers get a fair hearing.

After the lawsuit, since the USDA has not admitted discrimination nor promised not
to discriminate, there must be another delivery system of programs and money set up to give Black
farmers a chance to compete in this new economic environment. The USDA has proven itself to be
incapable of fairness and justice while continuing to foster programs and research to hurt Black

We recognize that only congress has the ability to formulate the specific
legislation to help remedy the plight of the Black farmer. The question is how to generate the
necessary political will to carry the vote and sustain its implementation.

Present Statistics of

Top of page


Middle passage

Volume 8

Volume 8, Number
December 12, 2005

The Farmer


Survivors of the New “Middle Passage”

by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad


On Friday, December 9th we arrived in Jackson, Miss. at the Anderson United Methodist Church as
community activist and New Orleans Katrina survivor Bro. Curtis Muhammad spoke. He said, “If
someone snatches you out of your home, puts a gun to your head, then pulls the trigger, but you duck
and they miss, are you going back to that person for help? The government pulled the trigger, but
missed.” This sentiment was expressed by Katrina survivors throughout the day long
“Survivor Assembly & National Conference” sponsored by the “People’s Hurricane
Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition (PHRF)”. PHRF was launched by Community Labor United (CLU)
after Hurricane Katrina, as it became clear that the government was not going to help folk hurt by
the storm.

The PHRF along with its self-help programs also has a list of demands for the government and
major organization which include:

1. Provide funds for all displaced families to be reunited;

2. Allocate the $50 billion for construction to the victims of the hurricane in the form of a
Victims Compensation Fund;

3. Promote the representation from actual survivors on all boards that are making decisions on
spending public dollars for relief and reconstruction;

4. Place displaced workers and residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in public works jobs,
offering union wages;

5. Publicly account for and show the entire reconstruction process.

Survivors of the hurricane that were shipped all over the country had much to say about how the
government treated them as they were being evacuated and since their deployment. Stories were told
about how two days after Katrina in the city of Gretna which was not flooded, people living in the
Fisher Projects were forced from their apartments at gun point by the police and military, loaded on
buses and shipped out of the city. A documentary called “I won’t drown on that levee &
you ain’t gonna break my back” was presented showing how inmates, mostly Black, were left to
drown in the Orleans County jail, but survived by bursting through the roof. Even after surviving
the immediate danger they were left in fetid water without food or clean water for 4 days.

Stories were told about how people were being evicted from their homes and apartments without
notice. Homes were being sold from beneath people without their knowledge or consent; insurance
companies refused to pay for damages to the victims’ homes; rent was doubled and tripled forcing
tenants out or preventing the poor from coming back; people received telephone bills, electric bills
and water bills in the hundreds of dollars for the period during which there was no telephone,
electric or municipal water service; young white vigilantes with guns kept Black people from going
to relief centers that were located on the other side of white neighborhoods; Black men were
prevented from coming into Black communities to get relatives out or bring supplies in; food was
dropped from helicopters from a height of 100 feet splattering in front of victims; there were no
medical facilities or means to get prescriptions filled; Black people were put in jail for curfew
violations while white folk partied in the French Quarter; people were called “niggers” by
the police and National guard; vigilantes dressed up to look like legitimate police or military; the
military and vigilantes shot down Black men trying to bring supplies to the women, children and old
people; number of dead has been severely undercounted; fences were put up around the Superdome after
whites were taken out and Blacks left to suffer.

After the victims were evacuated the stories persisted of how they were treated like convicts on
the evacuation buses and airplanes patrolled by armed guards. Women told the stories of how they
were treated like prisoners and disrespected by the maids at the hotels in Detroit. They complained
about how they were being bused around to rallies to raise money for major relief funds, but given
second-hand clothes and rags to wear and no money. They all complained about how the government did
not help and in most cases prevented the evacuees from communicating with each other or finding
family members.

They complained about how the media was not telling the truth about what happened. The survivors
stated that they want an independent investigation of how those levees broke. They also stated that
they wanted complete amnesty for all those accused of looting while they were struggling to survive.
The survivors knew about the aid offered by Cuba and Venezuela but stopped by the US government.
They expressed a willingness to independently seek support from those and other countries that wish
to help them.

Testimony by them highlighted the great love and concern that the Black people showed each other
throughout the crisis. They mentioned how Blacks set up their own clinics and that the first
responders in most cases were family members, friends and neighbors. Mention was made of how the
Millions More Movement mobilized to set back the December 1st eviction of 150,000 evacuees from
hotels across the country. Those deadlines have been moved from December 1st to the 15th and now
January 1st. Conferees pointed out that continued exposure of the situation and community outcry
could possibly force FEMA to move those dates further back and fulfill its promises of emergency
housing to be located in the New Orleans and Gulf Coast region.

The PHRF developed a set of strategies and committees to carry out ongoing programs of recovery.
You can find information or make donations by calling 1-888-310-PHRF or emailing info@communitylaborunited.net.

After leaving Jackson on December 10th we traveled south to Columbia, Miss where a meeting of the
Mississippi Black Farmers and Land Owners Association was held. The Black farmers were organizing to
support legislation being developed to help Black farmers who were either hurt or not helped by the
Pigford v. Glickman Black farmers’ lawsuit.

Even here the injustices perpetrated on them by FEMA in the aftermath of Katrina was exposed. A
76 year old Black woman testified that she received no assistance from FEMA although she lost
everything in the storm, while whites with little or no damage were getting large checks from FEMA.

However, the hypocrisy and political nature of how this disaster relief is moving forward was
highlighted by an eyewitness of such games. Mrs. Francis Guy said that she had attended a meeting of
Black preachers that was held in Marion county Miss. on Friday, December 9th where they were told by
a FEMA representative to be sure to fill out their application to receive FEMA money, because the
decision for how the money was to be dispersed was the following Wednesday and the checks would be
cut Thursday. She asked the people in attendance how many of them knew about their pastor attending
or applying for such monies. None knew anything about it, which prompted Mr. Sherri Jones from
Marion county to say, “Tomorrow when you go to church and your preacher begins to talk about
Job, tell him to tell you about FEMA.”

Survivor Conference at Anderson Methodist Church in Jackson, Miss.

See Books and lectures by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min

Killing me softly

Volume 4

Volume 4, Number
February 5, 2001

The Farmer


"Killing me softly…"

by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad

I just saw a story on "Dateline" Sunday, February 4, 2001 concerning scientists getting
closer to cloning a human being. The scientist working on the technique assured the reporter that
the cloning process would be done in an ethical way insuring the safety of the child produced in the
process. When asked why is cloning needed, the scientist responded with the usual reasons such as
infertility of a married couple.

These and other reasons for cloning are highlighted on a website promoting cloning set up by the
Human Cloning Foundation :http://www.humancloning.org . Many of the reasons listed on the website
include: medical breakthroughs, medical tragedies, to cure infertility, to fund research, bad
parents, a child’s right to be better than its parents, to take a step towards immortality, because
you believe in freedom, to be a better parent, endangered species could be saved, animals and plants
could be cloned for medical purposes, to have a better sense of identity, because so many people
want cloning, Religious Freedom, because of the special relationship that twins have, economics, gay
couples, a cure for baldness, etc.

Now these are the reasons given for cloning. While many of them seem trivial, others appeal to
the sense of caring for those who suffer. However, a few send up a "red flag" such as:
endangered species could be saved, economics and gay couples. In the world that we live in filled
with racism and known instances of genocide, one must ask the question of who will have access to
this cloning technology and what is their agenda.

If on one side we here respectable leaders like Al Gore talking about the overpopulation of the
planet, then what species of humans is endangered? Surely not the darker people of the planet,
because he mentions three countries in his book "Earth in the Balance" as trouble spots of
overpopulation: Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria. On the other hand in predominantly white Russia the
population is in decline with many women in that country not being able to have natural births.

Therefore with cloning white Russians or declining populations of white people all over the
planet would be better able to reproduce, whereas poorer countries not having services of these
technologies must depend on the natural method of reproduction. Presently, the darker people do not
seem to be at a disadvantage, however things could change if ethnic biological weapons are developed
to reduce fertility among the darker races. Could this be possible?

In June 1997 Jane’s Defense Weekly reported that former defense Secretary Cohen
"quoted other reports about what he called ‘certain types of pathogens that would be ethnic
specific so that they could just eliminate certain ethnic groups and races." More can be read
about biological warfare in a recent publication by the British Medical Association entitled,
"Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity" where it states that "Genetic engineering of
biological agents, to make them more potent, has been carried out covertly for years…" p.

But what is more disturbing is testimony which has surfaced in the South Africa’s Truth and
Reconciliation Commission around "Dr Death" (Wouter Basson): "There were revelations
of research into a race-specific bacterial weapon; a project to find ways to sterilize the country’s
black population; discussions of deliberate spreading of cholera through the water supply;
large-scale production of dangerous drugs; the fatal poisoning of anti-apartheid leaders, captured
guerrillas, and suspected security risks; even a plot to slip thallium, a toxic heavy metal that can
permanently impair brain function, into Nelson Mandela’s medication before his release from prison
in 1990." More can be read at: http://muhammadfarms.com/News.htm#Biowarfare
S. Africa

Methods of population sterilization include inoculation under false pretenses and poisoning the
water and food supply. The international biotechnology firms have become more intrusive into third
world countries in their attempt to control all germ plasma of the planet. They go into an area and
collect the local staple germ plasma, break down its genetic code then patent that code and variety.
They then try to force the local farmers to buy the corporation’s seeds threatening them with
patent violations if they plant their once native varieties.

The recent "Rice Genome Project" (http://muhammadfarms.com/News.htm#Rice
) is heralded as a great break through and a step in locking down the genetic code of the
other main food staples including corn and wheat. Now rice can be manipulated at will, even
inoculated with vaccines to "prevent" diseases.
one of the "diseases" be "overpopulation"?

Even if you don’t accept such "conspiracy theories", the recent revelations of what
has been going on in the livestock industry which has surfaced in outbreaks of Mad Cow disease in
unexpected countries reveal that profits, not ethics or human safety, govern the "merchants of
death". Putting this new cloning technology in the hands of a proven killer is like selling
guns to a felon. How do you think they will use it?

Although the testimony and trial of apartheid killers like "Dr Death" may cause disgust
and outrage, the more euphemistic approach of the Al Gore types may pass by unnoticed. Its like a
very popular song that I love to hear Roberta Flack sing "Killing me softly…"


New Page 1

"Interview with a 100 year old Pioneer"

by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad

Q.: Bro.William how old are you?

Bro. William: I was born in 1901, March 14th. And my birthday be coming up March 14th, I’ll be

Q.: I heard it said that you have 98 children. So tell me how many children do you have?

Bro. William: Well brother, when I tell the people the truth, they take it and make jokes out of
it. The kids, mine, I’m not the father of those kids, but I’m the father that takes care of
those kids when I got them. One just left here today, I’m not her father by nature but I’m there
father cause I am the only father they know about. I got them all over Michigan, I got them in
Georgia. They love me, respect me, when I need help they help me. Why? Because I ain’t never had
no children on welfare.

Q.: How many children are you the father of?

Bro. William: The father of? I’ ll give you a close estimate, about 50. Father of about 50 by
different sisters when I was younger and didn’t understand life. And they come up and everywhere
they went, they may come back and I take care of them and their kids.

Q.: What’s the ages of your youngest child and oldest child?

Bro. William: My baby is 20. My baby daughter by my wife.

Q.: The oldest?

Bro.William: "The oldest child about 76 or 77 years old?

Q.: What would credit for you living so long and being able to father a child at 80 years old,
while most of us die before 80?

Bro. William: "Number one brother, when I heard the teachings of the HEM back in the early
fifty’s. I was doing right, I wasn’t never no rowdy man. All I did is worked hard and I always
loved to farm. When I heard the teaching from him said " If we can build churches, why can’t
we build homes and farm land for our own. Why we have to go to the white man to work his job, when
you can make your own job and come together as one family." And that went all through me, and I
give my life to Allah and His Messenger from that day on to this one, and that is what I believe in

I never get to old or tired to get up go fishing. I’ m always ready to get up and go to that
farm and work, whatever it needs night or day. That’s what I teach young brothers and sisters here
in Georgia and they know me for years and they all love me. We can easily come together, because
number one we got no place to go.

Q.: "Let me get this straight, because you love the work and you love to farm is what you
attribute to why you’ve been able to live so long and be in good health?

William: "Why I live so long, obeying the Teachings of HEM, "How to Eat to Live",
how to be obedient to God and how to love your people as yourself and I love that. I was born in
this world loving black people. I remember when I was a little boy back in Michigan a white man
slapped a black woman. I jumped on him and was biting him all over, eating him up.

Q.: Where you born at?

William: I was born in Shaw, Mississippi.

Q.: Then when did you move up to Michigan.

William: I left Mississippi when I was 9 years old. When I got up to Michigan I was about 15 or
16. I had worked my way up there taking any jobs I could find.

Q.: When did you join up with the Messenger?

William: I come into the Nation in ‘55, I think it was.

Q.: In what city?

William: Detroit, Mich., Mosque #1

Q.: Who was the minister there then?

William: At that time I think it was Malcolm X’s brother, Wilfred was the minister.

Q.: When did you start working with the farm program for the Nation?

William: In Michigan me and my wife, I had bought a little place near Metropolitan airport. I got
5 acres when I started out and came back the next year and got 15 more May 20th. It wasn’t an
airport at that time but in a place called Bellflower. I had my own stand and bringing food in every
week into the city.

Q.: What year was that when you bought the land?

That was in 39 or 40.

Q.: So you were always doing that before you came in the Nation?

William: Yes sir.

Q.: So you just continued that?

William: Right. I was in the Nation a long time then Bro. Capt. Roscoe Muhammad which was the
Messenger’s nephew, his sister’s child. And he said we already got a farm and the Messenger
wants a farmer. And so many brothers in there said they was into farming, so when the Messenger said
he wanted to talk to them about farming they all refused.

So they asked me would I talk to the HEM about being a farmer, I said yes sir, I would be glad to
cause that’s what I love to do. I would be more than proud. And so out of all of us, I guess it
would about 30 of us lined up together, all backed down accept me and a brother named Bro. Espy
Crosby. So he came with me.

Q.: Now what year was that?

William: That was in 1966 in Georgia. But before then I worked the farm we bought in Benton
Harbor, Michigan with Bro. Cornellius. So when I got here in Georgia, this brother came with me. And
the Messenger asked us what we knew about farming. Now the first one he interviewed was Bro. Crosby.
He said "brother do you know about farming?" He said, "Yes, Sir, dear Holy
Apostle." He said, "All right, about wheat, how many bushels of wheat can you make off of

And he looked up and said, "Well dear Holy Apostle, round about 75, 80 or 90."
"No, brother, what about corn?" Well he said, "I don’t know." So the Messenger
asked me. And I said well, all the wheat I produced all my life, we got 25 to 30 bushels to the acre
average. Now in some places in the field where you got more fertilizer, of course you might get
more, but over the whole field you get 25, 30 bushels per acre. Corn? I told him that.

Then he asked about watermelon, cause he loved watermelon. I said I can grow the sweetest
watermelon. He said, "So how you do it?" You see like my daddy taught me when I was a
little boy. We take our seeds and soak them in sweet milk and sugar. Now you understand after about
3 or 4 days and they start to sprouting then you take them to the field and plant them by hand in
the field. You put a watermelon about an inch to inch and half into the ground. Then you put a
little horse manure on top like we did in those days. I said that the watermelons would be so sweet
that when you cut one open, the sugar would run out of both ends. And the syrup wouldn’t be
nothing but sugar.

Q.: Did you wait until it sprouted all the way? Or until it was just started sprouting?

William: Just started to sprout. You don’t wait till it come up, now. You can see when your
seed starts to swell and then the small end opens up first. So when it open up like that you take
them and plant them by hand.

Q.: So you came down here in 1966? was there anybody else down here?

William: No.

Q.: Where did you’ll stay at?

William: Back there where that mobile home where you living in. It was an old house there then.
So we stayed in that until the Messenger told us to get two mobile homes. So the question was why
not just get one. But the Messenger wanted us to start out right so that there would be no conflict
between us.

Q.: Now when you came down here did you have the hold 4500 acres or was it just the 1600 acres we
got back there now?

William: We bought the whole thing, we had the whole thing but it was not all in cultivation. We
had about 1200 acres in cultivation at that time. So I told the Messenger that we needed more land
so we could make more money off of the farm.

So he asked me how much was land going for down there. So I told him that land was going for
about $600 per acre back then, but I told the Messenger what we can do is let’s clean up what we
got on the farm. That would give us pretty close to 5,000 acres. So, he said "Brother, how much
is that going to cost per acre?" So I said it cost about $300 per acre.

Then he said, "Brother, go ahead and get it as quick as you can. So I left running. So in
about 4 months we had all that land opened up where now the best land is.

Q.: So how long was it before you opened that land up?

William: We come down here in 1966, we worked it for that first year, then we opened up that
other part in 1967 and started running a bigger field. But he told me is "Look brother, don’t
wait till next year. I want something in the ground this year." And when he told me that just
shook me like electricity all through my body. I said brother did you here that? Do you know what
that means. It was in February. So what we went and got the machines that we need. I said,
"Dear Holy Apostle we need three tractors, two 4020’s and one 2520. I will give you my word
you will have you a big crop this year".

And Allah blessed us to get the tractors. Money was sent down here to me and a brother who came
down here from Michigan and me went right down there to the John Deere dealer right there in Dawson.

Q.: Did you get all the harrows and planters and other stuff that you needed?

William: Yes, sir. I got two planters, two harrows and two bottom plows and one big bush hog.

Q.: The next year you cleared the land out and did you buy some more equipment?


William: Then next year we cleared the land out. We already had the equipment. All we had to do
was get out like a mule, get out and go to work.

Q.: What crops did you all produce that first year?

William: We produced corn, field corn for horses and cows. And we had one of the prettiest crop
of corn you ever seen in your life. Ms. Bettywise and Calvin Lee and all those around Bronwood will
tell you the same thing.

Q.: So you had corn and what else?

William: We had corn, we had watermelons and we had something like a corn barley, sorghum

Q.: So where did you sell your watermelons at?

William: We put it in the paper. Anyone that wanted watermelons could come out. And we had one
truck. I told the HEM that we needed a truck bad. So he told me if you can find one buy one. And I
saw one on the highway for sale and we bought it. And Brother Otis use to come from Chicago and take
them back the truck load to Chicago. It they would be weighing from 45 to 50 lb. a piece.

Q.: Do you have some of those watermelon pictures?

William: Yes sir, I got some of em.

Q.: Whenever you needed money could you get it from the Messenger?

William: Yeah, sure. But let me explain one thing. I would write the Messenger and say could I
use some of the land to grow vegetables and sell them in town to pay my labor off? He said sure. So
I put in about 30 acres of vegetables, different kind of vegetables, snapbeans, okra, cabbage,
turnips, rutabaga. And I went and bought two used pickup trucks. I would let one brother take one of
those truck every morning and go to Albany, Georgia and 5 black stores there and 2 white ones. We
would take the vegetables there and sell it, and I never asked the HEM for money to pay off no labor
back then, not one time. Friday was pay day.

Q.: Now we lost the farm back in the 70’s and what did you do until we got the farm back?

William: Well brother, I don’t like to talk about that too much. I almost went crazy. But Allah
kept me alive, and my family wanted me to come back to our little farm in Michigan, but I didn’t
want to go back there. I had two little tractors up there and truck and I never wanted for nothing.
But my heart and soul today with Elijah Muhammad and Louis Farrakhan and I would rather die than
leave this farm.

Q.: What happened when the Nation fell?

William: A big old limousine came in here and said, "we heard that the Nation had sold the
farm". And I couldn’t believe that. I got sick. They asked "where you going now". I
said I ain’t going nowhere, cause one day we go get it back. You got that much money coming that
you go get it back. We ain’t heard of nobody getting no land back."

Q.: Now, so when we got it back, the farm is not what it should be now. We got it back in 1994
and started farming in 1995. What can you say is the problem with the farm now? Or what is different
now than it was back then when you had the farm by in the 1960’s and ‘70’s?

William: That’s easy. We ain’t got nothing to work with. We ain’t got no money. When we got
the farm back, we didn’t have no equipment. All that was sold out from underneath us. And so when
the minister put me back on my post, I told him what we needed to the best of my ability. And that’s
as far as I know, we didn’t have nothing to work with.

When ever we could get some little equipment to borrow. You know what we went through, you was
right here with me. So we did as best we could. So when that little bit of money run out we couldn’t
go no further. Because I always knew in my heart that one day the farm would be gotten back.

Q.: I noticed that you still go around selling produce off of your truck. Is it different now
than it was back then? Are those little stores that you were dealing with before are they still here

William: Most of the stores back then, most of them are gone. But thank Allah about 8 or 9 have
come back in over the last year are two. And they asking for produce and I got Bro. Greg Muhammad to
help me to sell. He’s doing pretty good and making a living at it. They believe in what we are
saying, because number one we don’t those chemicals that kill people.

Q.: So are these black guys or white guys?

William: Black guys and white guys.

Q.: When I first got down here all was down here the only thing we had was the big stores and
they weren’t buying vegetables.

William: There wasn’t nobody down here growing vegetables. They called this a dead area. We did
more with this land, this old battlefield land, with vegetables than anybody in Georgia. It wouldn’t
produce nothing here but corn and wheat, barley. When we got started back with the vegetables the
people knew that we were producing vegetables with none of those chemicals in it.

What happened is that a farmer grew some kale and collard greens and turnip greens and he put
that DDT on there. A lot of people get sick and died off of that. But we wouldn’t allow none of
that on our farm. We wouldn’t let them fly over and spray that stuff either.

Q.: So that was back in the 60’s right?

William: Right, back then and right today they come by asking for vegetables cause they know we
don’t use chemicals. We use organic. Many people don’t know what organic means. It don’t just
mean one thing. You can take leaves as good organic that you can put in the field. Along with cow
manure or horse manure, you have good deal.

Q.: So Bro. William you just got back out of the hospital, what happened?

William: Well I was out in the weather and didn’t have on the proper clothing like I was
supposed to. And number one I would go by my doctor in Albany and I take a flu shot and a pneumonia
shot. And I been doing that for the last 4 or 5 years. But this time I didn’t and so what happened
I went in to get checked and I found out that I had pneumonia in both sides.

Q.: Both lungs?

William: Yes, both lungs.

Q.: When was that?

William: Well, that was about 14 days ago.

Q.: So how are you now?

William: I’ m doing a lot better. I told my doctor that I didn’t want to leave out before I
was completely well, cause I didn’t want to have to come back in here.

Q.: Well what else happened when you went into the hospital?

William: Well, they were trying to put in an I.V. in this arm here. An old doctor was trying to
put in antibiotic in my vein. He missed the vein and put the needle down in my flesh and it went
down to my bone. I said, "Ouch man you hurting me." He said, "It’s all right it’s
in there now." He walked out. And I laid there praying and suffering. Later on about an hour I
couldn’t raise my hand. It was all swollen up. It took the nurse about 20 minutes to get in there.
Meanwhile it was getting bigger and bigger. I couldn’t raise up my hand.

I said nurse that doctor stuck that needle in me and look at my arm. There was blood all over my
arm, on my shirt. It didn’t go into my vein it went into my flesh. It blew up like an inner tube.

They gave me this medicine and I been taking it and now over the last few days my arm done went
down. But it still got some pain in it. There is a lump here at my risk that feels like I got a
bullet in it. I can’t bend my hand right now.

Q.: He must have went down into the joint?

William: Yeah, that’s exactly what he did.

Q.: What do we need to make this farm work?

William: What we need is for our black people to know, not only here in Georgia, but all over the
United States that peace, joy and success is the farm. Heaven is the farm. If we can come together
and donate $10, $15 or $20 per week. What ever we can get to get the farm back in shape. Here is our
home and we can get all the land adjoining ours. Dear Holy Apostle, I would love to get all the land
next to ours.

Q.: The people they thought when they gave to the Three Year Economic Program and we got the farm
back that was it.

William: We didn’t get much out of the Three Year Economic Program. We didn’t have enough to
work with. You here with me, you can see that. There ain’t enough money to do nothing with. It
like a treasury. You steady pulling a little bit in and putting a little bit in, you ain’t getting
nowhere. We need to let our churches, mosques, synagogues, all over, we are black and have to feed
ourselves just like the white man. He don’t believe in no mystery god. We have got to get off of
our lazy behinds and stop talking, just do it.





Muhammad Farms


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Volume 4

Volume 4, Number 10                                
February 27, 2001

The Farmer


Farm, Food and Family Weekend

by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad

In conjunction with the annual National Saviours’ Day Celebration held the fourth weekend in
February, Muhammad Farms, the Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association along with the Southwest
Georgia Outreach Ministries hosted a three day agenda of programs in Southwest Georgia and Southeast
Alabama ( See pictures).

On Friday a round table discussion was held in Dawson City Hall to discuss "Your Future and
the Future of Dawson". The young people on the panel were asked to define their concept of
success. They emphasized obtaining ones goals and financial security as major elements of success.
When asked what they disliked most about Dawson, they emphasized a lack of recreational activities
for the youth and a severe shortage of well paying jobs as the major problems.

We were also lucky to have in attendance Rev. Ezekiel Holley, Terrell County NAACP President, and
Mayor Robert Albritten of Dawson. Both Rev. Holley and Mayor Albritten pointed out to the youth that
what goes on in a city and the availability of jobs was affected by political decisions made at both
the county and state level and not just at the city level. This simple fact was a major revelation
to the youth and may be just as revealing to the older citizens.

One young man from Albany pointed out how Black people went in numbers to the City Council in
Albany to push for a new football stadium and got the city’s approval. However, they failed to
show up at the County Commissioners meeting and the project was voted down. The people just did not
know the power of the County Commissioners in what was to happen in the city.

That next day Rev. Holley continued his educational message of political activism and the
relation between laws and the quality of life in his introductory remarks at the "Farm, Food
and Family" workshops held at the Terrell County Government Complex in Dawson. He brought to
the workshop of 30 leaders from 13 different cities his particular interest in the Predatory Lending
bill introduced by State Senator Vincent Forte that had just cleared the State Banking Committee
soon to be brought to a vote on the floor of the Georgia State Senate. He pointed out how one vote
in the Senate last year was the determining vote in passing a "Hate Crimes Bill". A lot of
grassroots organizing and lobbying the Senate members was necessary to win that slim margin. He
emphasized strongly the need for, not only increased voter registration, but voter education, so
that the common man can learn how to influence "Goliath" to do the right thing.

Dr. John Marshall, a medical doctor and Sumter County NAACP President, spoke on the need for
people to stop being afraid. "We all are going to die. That’s just a fact. So are you going
to live shaking in fear, or stand up and leave a legacy for your children that will make life better
for them than the life that you had to bear in oppression?"

Sister Anne Muhammad, Board Chairperson of the Southwest Georgia Outreach Ministries, pointed out
the need for our sisters to breast feed their babies and cook wholesome meals for their families.
"Some people argue that their grandparents lived long lives from eating what some call today
‘slave food’. However, I bet if you chemically analyzed the foods then and now, you would find
that we are not eating the "same" food as they were eating." Sister Anne also drew
the connection between improper eating, particular junk food and a lot of excess sugars, to the
alarmingly high rate of diabetes in the Black community. Dr. Marshall concurred and said that
research has shown a strong link between obesity and diabetes. "It must be the food", he

Dwight Bailey and Paul Reeves, both from the Department of Energy, brought a whole new
perspective on renewal energy development. Johnny Huddleston revealed his plans for fresh water
shrimp production and marketing in Southwest Georgia.

Patrick Carradine, a young entrepreneur from Tifton, GA, exposed the group to the A.C.N.
marketing plan and business opportunities. "I have testimonials of how much money can be made
and can show you how you can pay off your farm, buy more equipment and subsidize your farming
operation by working this plan on a part-time basis", he said.

Sister Anne Muhammad received applause on the meal that she prepared for the conference
participants. She demonstrated how a well thought out and prepared meal can be both healthy and
delicious. The meal included smoked salmon loaf, Egyptian rice, vegetable casserole, non-pork
seasoned collard greens, cream of wheat bread and carrot cake.

Dr. Ridgely Muhammad explained to the audience that he had not learned how to eat properly and
that was one of the reasons that he was on a three day fast. "You see what you all must
understand is that I have to eat her cooking everyday. I only eat once a day, and when I get into
that stuff that she been cooking I just ‘pig out’. I eat too fast, but y’all see what I’m up
against, don’t you?"

Sunday we were blessed to have the live satellite broadcast of Minister Louis Farrakhan’s
keynote address in the Terrell County Government Complex in Dawson, Ga. and at Wallace College in
Eufaula, Alabama. We were quite delighted and surprised at the turn out of over 50 people in little
Eufaula considering the lack of publicity that we were able to get in that area. It just shows that
Allah (God) works in the dark while we sleep. Minister Farrakhan looked good, sounded strong, but
admonished the religious community that a "tree is known by the fruit it bears, and a man by
his works…I do not think that any amount of teaching will be enough to change the wicked ways of
our people…We have played with God long enough…It is now time for the retribution."

Copyright (c) 2001 Ridgely A. Mu’min